Marijne Vogel & Annabel Smart from Studio 11:11

Words: Manuela Millan
Photos: Caitlin Mills Photography

Based around their three core values of simplicity, craftsmanship and functionality, Marijne Vogel and Annabel Smart founded Studio 11:11 and began creating beautiful, Australian-made, fine leather goods.

They discovered the joy of working with leather while employed as Interior Designers for Hecker Guthrie. Both shared an interest in fashion and accessories and so decided to combine their design knowledge and passion to create a bag that met their own needs. 

It was obvious that we both really loved the qualities of leather and we decided to explore that for fun.

Bags are personal. You need to spend time with them to know how they fit in your hand. You need to know how long they hang when you stand. You need to know how they’ll make you feel. This is not unlike spaces.
— Studio 11:11

They made their first leather tote bag with the help of a local leatherworker but never intended for it to become a business.

It was specifically designed for us, to take our A3 drawings and large lap top to meetings. We never set out to create a business, it was very much experimental. Everyone's response was really positive, we had a lot of encouragement from friends to keep producing the bags.

It took almost a year for the initial designs to reach a point where the bags could be produced and sold. Although they now produce other styles, the Tote will always be a favourite because of the sentimental value associated with it.

Bags are personal. You need to spend time with them to know how they fit in your hand. You need to know how long they hang when you stand. You need to know how they'll make you feel. This is not unlike designing spaces.

Their design process is influenced by their background in interior design. They begin by sketching, then convert their ideas into 2D CAD drawings to produce the patterns, before testing their ideas by creating a physical model. 

The idea of the bag always comes out of what we need or what we can't find. We start with the function of the bag and consider how we can construct them in a clever way. We get so far with sketching and then we need to see it in 3D. We sometimes produce a paper model to get a real good understanding of the scale and proportions.


MM: How important is social media to your business?

It's a necessary evil - we're very conscious of what we put out online. It's necessary because we're not currently retailing to any stores and we're purely sold online, so we do rely on our online presence.

MM: What are you reading right now?

MV:  I'm halfway through Chasing the Sky: Twenty Stories of Women in Architecture. This book is not only focused on aesthetics but it tells the background stories of Australian female architects that run their own businesses. It's very relevant to us right now as we're at the point where we're going to be doing that ourselves.

MM: Where do you get your coffee?

[both in unison]: CAM'S CAFE! In Abbotsford Convent.

MM: Where do you go for dinner?

LongPlay in Fitzroy North. I like that it's just a no-fuss restaurant with incredible food.

MM: What are your plans for the future?

Studio 11:11 is becoming a multi-disciplinary practice. We're still going to be designing leather goods, but we'll be combining this with furniture design and interiors. We like the idea of producing furniture pieces and objects that are aesthetically in line with our bags.

Their beautiful Fitzroy studio. #studiogoals